'The flames went as high as the lamp post': Gas explosion reported in Northampton town centre

A major road is closed following a suspected gas explosion in Northampton town centre.

Police cars, fire engines and utility companies are all at the scene outside Sol Central in Marefair following the incident around 1.20pm today (June 27).

A police cordon is in place and Marefair is closed while emergency services deal with the incident.

It is not yet clear if anyone has been injured.

But eyewitnesses say they saw an explosion burst from a manhole cover close to the entrance to the Ibis Hotel.

Stefano Daniello, a carpenter who was working on Balti Central at the time of the explosion, told the Chronicle and Echo: "Where the hotel is where the benches are outside there's a manhole cover that just exploded. The flames went as high as the lamp post.

Marefair in Northampton town centre is shut after a suspected gas explosion.

Marefair in Northampton town centre is shut after a suspected gas explosion.

"I was getting in the van and I saw it all happen.

"We were lucky. It could have gone right through us."

Stefano also said a woman was standing about five feet away from the manhole cover when it exploded.

A slab reportedly came off the floor in the blast and was launched into the air. The woman nearby ran away.

A police cordon is in place and the road is shut.

A police cordon is in place and the road is shut.

A tweet by Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue reads: "13:18hrs We currently have crews on scene with @NorthantsPolice and utility companies assisting with an incident near Sol Central #Northampton. Local cordons are in place for public safety."

Updates to follow.